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J Dairy Sci. 2007 Feb;90(2):523-31.

Solvent type affects the number, distribution, and relative quantities of volatile compounds found in sweet whey powder.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


This study compares the performance of diethyl ether, methylene chloride, methyl formate, and pentane in the analysis of volatile flavor components in sweet whey powder. Extracts were prepared from sweet whey powder using each solvent. Volatile components were isolated by solvent extraction followed by solvent-assisted flavor evaporation. Gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy, coelution with known standards, and retention indices were used to identify the volatile compounds. Sixty total compounds were either positively or tentatively identified across all 4 solvents, but the number, distribution between the molecular classes, and relative quantities detected depended on solvent type. The highest number, widest distribution, and greatest relative quantities were found using methylene chloride and methyl formate, whereas diethyl ether and especially pentane were noticeably less effective. Results are characterized using molecular-based characteristics of solvents and solutes including dipole moment, dielectric constant, Log P (octanol-water partition coefficient), polarizability, water solubility, and Lewis acidity/basicity. Polarity and acidity/basicity were the primary factors that determined solvent performance. This work establishes a molecular-level basis for the selection of solvents in the analysis of sweet whey powder flavors.

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